Virtuoso Life November 2018 Why We Travel: Linda and Dev Shukla

Why We Travel: Linda and Dev Shukla

Dev and Linda Shukla in Copenhagen.
Dev and Linda Shukla in Copenhagen.
Photo by Dev Shukla
Linda and Dev Shukla didn’t think people of their generation – they’re both 38 – used travel advisors. “It sounded old-fashioned to me,” Linda says. Then the couple started planning a trip to Argentina for their tenth wedding anniversary.

“We were totally stumped and needed an expert,” she admits. The Seattle-based Shuklas both work at Microsoft and, for planning their big adventure, wanted the same all-inclusive service that they love when taking cruises. After one 30-minute call with Margaret Nichols, a Virtuoso travel advisor in Kansas City, Kansas, Linda says, “We went from being overwhelmed with choices to feeling super excited and completely under control. I was like, why did we wait so long?”

Exploring Iceland’s Gullfoss waterfall.
Exploring Iceland’s Gullfoss waterfall.
Photo by Dev Shukla
Dev: We were both raised to be practical, but then we saw the movie Up. It’s all about regret and what one couple didn’t get to do together. We said, “That can’t be us.” That’s our travel origin story. It’s what keeps us going and exploring.
 
Linda: Argentina was on our list for a while, and we wasted no time enjoying it. The second we landed in Buenos Aires, Margaret had us on a walking tour to fight off jet lag. Brilliant idea. Look – it’s Evita’s mausoleum! And, oh, those gorgeous city parks. She told everyone it was our anniversary, so we got what felt like the best tables and the best room in the hotel. At a tango show, we were so close, the dancer used one of our chairs in the performance.
 
Dev: Enjoy, absorb, eat, drink, relax, and be kind: That’s our motto in travel. We like to go and learn, but we also love good food and wine. It doesn’t have to be fine dining – street food is great. The most important thing is to savor the moment and be friendly and open. Interacting with people, whether it’s servers or people at the next table, and hearing about their backgrounds – that’s what we love about visiting new places.
 
We prefer spending money on experiences and great meals. In Tokyo, we had a comfortable bed in a great location. But because it wasn’t the fanciest hotel, we could splurge at Narisawa, one of the world’s best restaurants.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand.
Waiheke Island, New Zealand.
Photo by Linda Shukla
Linda: Before our trip to New Zealand, Margaret sent us a photograph of Otahuna Lodge in Christchurch. It showed a beautiful veranda facing a meadow with trees and a pond, and I was hoping we’d get to spend time in that exact spot. It turned out that was our private room. Because we were traveling off-peak, Margaret was able to upgrade us.
 
Dev:
We heard the horror stories about cruising. Forced interaction with strangers. The conga lines. But then we discovered what Norwegian calls “Freestyle Cruising,” and we love it. It’s like an open, resort feel. You eat when you want, sit where you want, and there’s no pressure to join the herd. On Norwegian Epic, there’s so much to do – Cirque du Soleil, Second City improv – it’s like a small city at sea.
 
Linda: We work in the tech industry. We love gadgets. But there’s nothing like a handwritten journal for travel memories – it’s so much more personal than a file on your computer. And when you’re in China, where they block Facebook and Google, it’s the best place to be reflective. 
Gold leaf completely covers the top two floors of Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple.
Gold leaf completely covers the top two floors of Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple.
Photo by Linda Shukla
Where next?
Dev:
The must-visit list starts with Thailand, because there’s a restaurant, Gaggan, that’s ranked among the best in Asia. Plus, Chiang Mai looks spectacular. Reading Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians series makes us want to go to Singapore. After that: Portugal, Spain, Lake Como, Greece, and then India for my parents’ 50th anniversary.

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